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What does Honour Based Abuse look like? Know the environment and the signs:

Violence can occur when perpetrators perceive that a relative has shamed the family and/or community by breaking their honour code.

Women and those who question their gender are predominantly (but not exclusively) the victims of HBA, which can be distinguished from other forms of violence, as it is often committed with some degree of approval and/or collusion from family and/or community members.

Although women are often the subject of abuse, males can also be victims, sometimes as a consequence of their involvement in what is deemed to be an inappropriate relationship, if they are gay, or if they are believed to be supporting the victim.

Honour based abuse cuts across all cultures, nationalities, faith groups and communities, usually where a culture is heavily male dominated. Relatives, including females, may conspire, aid, abet or participate in honour based abuse, for what might seem a trivial transgression.

What possible offences are being committed?

Honour based abuse is a serious offence which can involve a number of crimes:

  • common assault

  • domestic abuse

  • forced marriage

  • cruelty to persons under 16 (including neglect and abandonment)

  • failure to secure regular attendance at school of a registered pupil

  • theft (e.g. passport)

  • child abduction

  • abduction of an unmarried girl under the age of 16 from parent or guardian

  • abduction of a woman by force or for the sake of her property

  • forced repatriation

  • rape

  • aiding and abetting a criminal offence

  • kidnapping

  • false imprisonment

  • murder

How to detect the warning signs of HBA

The warning signs of honour based abuse can include:

  • extended absence from school/college, truancy, drop in performance, low motivation, excessive parental restriction and control of movements and history of siblings leaving education to marry early

  • poor attendance in the workplace, poor performance, parental control of income and limited career choices

  • evidence of self-harm, treatment for depression, attempted suicide, social isolation, eating disorders or substance abuse

  • evidence of family disputes/conflict, domestic violence/abuse or running away from home

Thank you to the Bedfordshire Police for developing this excellent resource

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